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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Lithuania

Lithuania

3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market

On this page
  1. Youth employment measures
  2. Flexicurity measures focusing on young people
  3. Reconciliation of private and working life for young people
  4. Funding of existing schemes/initiatives
  5. Quality assurance

Youth employment measures

Supported employment measures include subsidised employment, support for the acquisition of professional skills, public works and job rotation programmes.

The measure “subsidised employment” is regulated by Article 24 of the Law on Support for Employment. Under this measure, employers hiring youth (ages 16-29) who are registered in the Lithuanian Labour Exchange can have 50% of the gross wage reimbursed for a period not exceeding six months. Priority is given to long-term unemployed youth, young parents of two children, and youth originating from families that have two or more family members registered in the Lithuanian Labour Exchange. The compensation equals 50% of the wage and cannot exceed two minimum wages per month (EUR 600 monthly or EUR 3.64 hourly). Employers who fire subsidised workers (within six months after the subsidy period) cannot receive subsidised employment for at least 12 months. In 2014, over 9 700 youth were hired under “subsidised employment” in Lithuania.  

The measure “Support for the First Job” (Investicijų ir verslo garantijos), financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), was introduced in Lithuania in 2012 to promote youth employment. According to the measure, employers hiring youth (aged 16-29) with no previous work experience can receive a wage subsidy equal to 23.3% of the gross salary paid to the employee. Compensations are paid on a maximum wage of EUR 492.30 per month, and as a consequence the value of the compensation can in no case exceed EUR 114.70 per month.1 The wage subsidy is paid for a maximum of 12 months (see, for more details, the webpage of Investicijų ir verslo garantijos UAB, INVEGA, the independent agency in charge with administering the programme). The overall budget for this measures is EUR 9 270 000, and it is estimated that around 20 000 youth in total will benefit from this measure (European Social Fund, 2014). Although the project is going to end in September 2015, a similar project funded by the European Union will be introduced and shall be operational until 2020.

Job rotation programme is organised in cases when unemployed people are hired to temporary replace employees that are on leave (e.g. parental leave, educational and sabbatical leave). PES provides employer with a wage subsidy of up to 0.5 of the minimum wage for a maximum of 12 months. The programme attracts relatively few participants – 400 people in 2012, which suggests even fewer youth participated in the programme.

The measure “support for the acquisition of professional skills” is also regulated by Article 24 of the Law on Support for Employment. The measure provides partial wage subsidies to employers hiring youth (ages 16-29) who need to acquire new skills. These include: those who have been given a notice of dismissal; long-term unemployed; and those who start a job for the first time. The compensation equals 50% of the wage and cannot exceed two minimum wages per month (EUR 600 monthly or EUR 3.64 hourly). The duration of the subsidy is five months, while it is 12 months for youth starting a job with a newly acquired qualification. During 2014, over 2 000 youth participated in this programme.

Public works are provided and financed by the Lithuanian Labour Exchange and municipalities. The total duration of public works carried out by a job seeker can in no case exceed six months over a period of 12 months. An employer who hires a job seeker sent by the Lithuanian Labour Exchange to carry out public works is entitled to receive a wage subsidy for the hours worked by the employed person equalling the minimum hourly wage plus a compensation for social security contributions (Nekrošius and Petrylaitė, 2010).

Vocational education and training programmes are active labour market measures provided by the Lithuanian Labour Exchange. The following vocational education and training programmes are in place: 1) a voucher system, introduced in 2012; and 2) an apprenticeship programme, introduced in 2013. The voucher system is aimed to fund the training for the unemployed. Lithuanian Labour Exchange issues a voucher to registered unemployed persons or persons who received a notice of dismissal who can redeem the voucher at vocational education and training (VET) providers approved by Lithuanian Labour Exchange. A training contract is signed between Lithuanian Labour Exchange, the employer and the participant. The trainee may receive an education grant (50% to 60% of minimum wage for the actual hours spend in training) and may request additional funding to cover costs of accommodation and travel. Typically the employer provides guarantee that the participant will be reemployed for at least six months after completion of the training.

Support for local mobility commuting is provided to the registered unemployed people who found a job in geographical areas other than their current place of residence. Expenses on accommodation and travel costs are covered up to a sum of one minimum wage. Support is provided for a period of up to three months.

Socially useful activities is an employment supprot programme organised and managed by the municipalities independently from Lithuanian Labour Exchange. The programme targets social assistance benefit recipients who have been unemployed for more than six months. Usual duration of the programme is 40 hours per month. Participants do not receive wage but work in return for receiving the benefits.

Flexicurity measures focusing on young people

The actions envisage the drafting of legal acts regulating more flexible employment relations, seek to increase the employment rate of youth and elderly people (Interinstitutional Action Plan 2014−2016 Implementing the Employment Increasing Programme 2014–2020), and are related to the creation of the environment conducive to the promotion of entrepreneurship and the development of business. With regard to the connections of problems, goals, and seeking continuity of actions, the Action Plan also includes actions contributing to the implementation of the National Strategy of Overcoming the Ageing Consequences.

In order to establish greater flexibility in labour relations the new Labour Code came into force in Lithuania on 1 July 2017.  It offers to legitimate a conclusion of fixed-term contract if work is of a permanent nature and the parties agree. The Labour Code on the one hand proposes to  shorten the notice period of dismissal and to reduce the size of severance pays, more flexibly regulates working time, allows to conclude fixed term labour contracts for permanent jobs, but on the other hand  specifically regulate new issues such as promotion of life-long learning, the employee’s life-work balance, the protection of personal data and non-discrimination, use of information technologies at work, compulsory remuneration system in workplaces, where the average number of employees is more than 20, minimum monthly wage would be permissible only for unqualified work, more duties for employers to provide works council with information  concerning employees’ social and economic position, etc. As for the regulation of fixed-term contracts, the essential innovation is established with the possibility to conclude fixed-term contracts in the absence of the objective criterion of temporality. This does not contradict the European Union legislation provided that the maximum total duration of employment relationship and (or) the maximum number of renewals of the contract is determined. In Lithuania it is proposed to use this stipulation in the following way – employment relationships resulting from a fixed-term contract, in the absence of limitation of the number of renewals, may not continue longer than two years. The total duration of successive fixed-term contracts concluded with the same employee for the performance of different work may not exceed five years. Failure to comply with these requirements causes such employment contract become an indefinite-term contract. For the first time the Lithuanian law provides for a severance pay in case the employee’s fixed-term contract has lasted for over one year and has expired due to the expiry of its term – such employee shall be paid a severance pay in the amount of one monthly wage. The Parliament also approved, that  number of fixed-term contracts cannot exceed twenty percent of all employer’s contracts of employment. 

 

Reconciliation of private and working life for young people

There are no specific measures of reconciliation of private and working life for young people as a separate social group; however there are specific measures of reconciliation of private and working life for persons having young children (parents) and pregnant women. Present Labour Code 2017 provides that an employment contract with an employee who is a pregnant woman during her pregnancy and until the child reaches the age of four months may be terminated by agreement of the parties, on the initiative of the employee, on the initiative of the employee during the trial period, without the will of the parties, and upon expiry of a fixed-term employment contract at the end of its term. The fact of pregnancy of the employee shall be confirmed by providing the employer with a medical certificate of pregnancy.  From the day when the employer became aware of the pregnancy of the employee to the day when the child reaches the age of four months, the employer shall not be entitled to give the employee who is a pregnant woman a notice of the future termination of the employment contract or to take a decision to terminate the employment contract on any grounds other than those specified in paragraph 1 of this Article. If grounds for the termination of the employment contract have arisen during this period, the employee who is a pregnant woman may be given a notice of the termination of the employment contract, or a decision to terminate the employment contract may be taken only after the end of this period. If an employee is granted a pregnancy or childbirth leave, or a childcare leave during the period until the child reaches the age of four months, the employment contract may be terminated only after the end of such a leave. The main difference in new Labour code adopted in 2017 that fixed term employment contract with a pregnant woman could be terminated upon its expiry. But if an employee is granted a pregnancy or childbirth leave, or a childcare leave during the period until the child reaches the age of four months, the employment contract may be terminated only after the end of such a leave.

Previous Labour Code provided that employment contracts with employees raising a child (children) under three years of age may not be terminated without any fault on the part of the employee concerned.  New Labour Code adopted in 2017 provides, that employment contracts with employees raising a child (children) aged up to three years may not be terminated on the initiative of the employer in case of no fault of the employee. Employment contracts with employees who are on a pregnancy and childbirth, paternity or childcare leave may not be terminated at the discretion of the employer.

Previous Labour Code had provisions that employees raising a disabled child under eighteen years of age or two children up to twelve years are granted an additional day of rest per month (or reduced working hours by two hours per week), while raising three or more children up to twelve years - two days a month (or, respectively, reduced working hours by four hours per week), paid the average wage. Employees working longer than eight hours shifts, request the additional rest period may be summed up every three months. Emploees raising a child under 12 years old can have at least half of the working day off on the first day of the school year (usually 1st of September) for which the salary is paid. The New labour Code adopted in 2017 does not have these provisions.

There are no specific initiatives to support gender equality targeting young women or men as a special age group in the labour market. But in order to foster a sustainable change towards better accessing the labour force potential of women a series of public and private initiatives – with legislative and non-legislative focus - have been implemented in Lithuania. In Lithuania, women and men are almost equally represented in the labour market (60.5% of the female and 60.9% of the male population are employed; in comparison to the EU-27 average of 58.5%; moreover the employment rate of women in Lithuania is higher than that of men (see Country Profile on Gender Equality). The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania provides the principle of equality for all people and the inherent right to be treated equally with others. Lithuanian Parliament adopted the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men on 1 December 1998. The first Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson (hereinafter – Ombudsperson) was appointed on 20 April 1999. The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson was established on 25 May 1999 by the Parliament of Lithuania. In 2005, a new Law on Equal Treatment came into force. Ombudsperson’s mandate was extended and guaranteed the right to file complaints to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson in cases of discrimination on grounds of age, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnic origin, religion or beliefs. The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson is a budgetary institution financed from the state budget. Ombudsperson, by proposal from the Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament), is assigned for a term of five years by secret voting in Parliament. Ombudsperson is accountable to Parliament and is responsible for the enforcement of the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and the Law on Equal Treatment. The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson investigates complaints, carries out investigations on personal initiative and provides consultations regarding submitted inquiries, performs independent researches, related to discrimination and independent surveys on the discrimination state, releases independent reports, provides conclusions and recommendations on any issue related to discrimination with regard to the implementation of both mentioned laws, also provides proposals to the state institutions of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as municipality institutions and offices on further development of legal acts and priorities of equal opportunities policy implementation, carries out preventive and educational activity, including propagation of equal opportunities assurance. The Office also exchanges the possessed information with institutions of the European Union and international organisations with analogical functions. The Ministry of Social Security and Labour is responsible for the implementation of the National Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men for 2015-2016. The Programme aims at addressing, in a consistent, complex and systematic manner, gender equality issues, ensuring gender mainstreaming in all spheres and tackling specific problems of women and men. The Programme identifies main priorities for gender equality, and specific measures to achieve set goals. Women Employment Information Centre in Kaunas is a public organisation (non-governmental organisation) working in the area of improving the status of women in Lithuania with the regards to women employment issues, self-employment, enterprise development, women’s leadership, influencing public opinion on gender equality. Lithuanian Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations for Protection of Women's Humans Rights conducts a number of activities such as projects and seminars on the benefits of gender equality. The Women Committee at the Lithuanian Labour Federation (LDF) promotes equal opportunities for women and men, better work-life balance, abolishing gender stereotypes etc. 

Funding of existing schemes/initiatives

Lithuania is included the Youth Employment Initiative in the Operational Programme for the European Union Funds’ Investments in 2014-2020; where its implementation was assigned to specific objective 7.4.1. “Reduce the number of young people between 15 and 29 years of age not in employment, education or training” of Priority 7 “Promoting Quality Employment and Participation in the Labour Market”. This specific objective includes two Youth Employment Initiative supported projects which is aimed to provide assistance to 35,000 young people aged 15-29 who are not in employment, education or training until 2018. The primary intervention project “Discover Yourself” (Atrask save) is implemented between Lithuanian Public Employment Service, called the Lithuanian Labour Exchange, acting as a leading partner, and Department of Youth Affairs. Each institution coordinates a separate strand of the project targeting different NEET groups. Lithuanian Labour Exchange’s programme is designed for active NEETs who are officially registered with LLE as unemployed whereas Department of Youth Affairs targets inactive NEETs. The project offers early intervention services that will focus on the development of motivational, social and labour market skills through engaging NEETs in voluntary activities, various trainings, traineeship and apprenticeship experiences as well as providing them with psychological counselling, skills' assessment and other measures to enhance their motivation for work. It is planned that 23,000 unemployed NEETs and 12,000 inactive NEETs will participate in the project ‘Discover Yourself’, which will be fully launched, most likely, in April 2016. Those participants of the project "Discover Yourself" who do not receive unsubsidised job offer will be offered participation in the secondary intervention project “New Start” (Naujas startas). The project which will be carry outed only by the Lithuanian Labour Exchange, plans to involve a total of 11 065 unique NEETs in various active labour market measures. Most of the participants of this project will be involved in vocational training (around 9 000). Other participants will receive subsidised jobs or a package of several services (for example, vocational training and subsidised job) depending on their needs. The project ‘New Start’ will provide an opportunity to support the most disadvantaged participants of the first YEI project for a longer period of time than just 4 months.

The measure “subsidised employment” is regulated by Article 24 of the Law on Support for Employment. Under this measure, employers hiring youth (ages 16-29) who are registered in the Lithuanian Labour Exchange can have 50% of the gross wage reimbursed for a period not exceeding six months. Priority is given to long-term unemployed youth, young parents of two children, and youth originating from families that have two or more family members registered in the Lithuanian Labour Exchange. The compensation equals 50% of the wage and cannot exceed two minimum wages per month (EUR 600 monthly or EUR 3.64 hourly). Employers who fire subsidised workers (within six months after the subsidy period) cannot receive subsidised employment for at least 12 months. In 2014, over 9 700 youth were hired under “subsidised employment” in Lithuania.  

The measure “Support for the First Job” (Investicijų ir verslo garantijos), financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), was introduced in Lithuania in 2012 to promote youth employment. According to the measure, employers hiring youth (aged 16-29) with no previous work experience can receive a wage subsidy equal to 23.3% of the gross salary paid to the employee. Compensations are paid on a maximum wage of EUR 492.30 per month, and as a consequence the value of the compensation can in no case exceed EUR 114.70 per month.1 The wage subsidy is paid for a maximum of 12 months (see, for more details, the webpage of Investicijų ir verslo garantijos UAB, INVEGA, the independent agency in charge with administering the programme). The overall budget for this measures is EUR 9 270 000, and it is estimated that around 20 000 youth in total will benefit from this measure (European Social Fund, 2014). Although the project is going to end in September 2015, a similar project funded by the European Union will be introduced and shall be operational until 2020.

Job rotation programme is organised in cases when unemployed people are hired to temporary replace employees that are on leave (e.g. parental leave, educational and sabbatical leave). PES provides employer with a wage subsidy of up to 0.5 of the minimum wage for a maximum of 12 months. The programme attracts relatively few participants – 400 people in 2012, which suggests even fewer youth participated in the programme.

The measure “support for the acquisition of professional skills” is also regulated by Article 24 of the Law on Support for Employment. The measure provides partial wage subsidies to employers hiring youth (ages 16-29) who need to acquire new skills. These include: those who have been given a notice of dismissal; long-term unemployed; and those who start a job for the first time. The compensation equals 50% of the wage and cannot exceed two minimum wages per month (EUR 600 monthly or EUR 3.64 hourly). The duration of the subsidy is five months, while it is 12 months for youth starting a job with a newly acquired qualification. During 2014, over 2 000 youth participated in this programme.

Lithuanian Labour Exchange implements three ESF projects, where young people are one of the target groups:

  1. Project “Trust in Yourself”: intended for young people aged 16-25 who are not in employment nor education, nor engaged in any measures of active labour market policy. In 2014, LTL 2.2 million was used for the implementation of the Programme of Social Rehabilitation and Preparation for Employment in the Labour Market; intended funding for 2015 – LTL 1.4 million.
  2. Project “Employment Support”: targeted at young people under 29 to engage them in two measures of active labour market policy: subsidised employment and supporting acquisition of job skills. – In 2014, LTL 12.61 million used for the implementation of activities intended to boost youth employment.
  3. Project “Stay in the Labour Market”: targeted at young people under 29 to engage them in three measures of active labour market policy: subsidised employment, supporting acquisition of job skills and job rotation. – In 2014, LTL 20.5 million used for the implementation of activities targeted at young people under 29 (LTL 17.83 million from ESF funds; LTL 2.68 million from the Unemployment Fund).

Quality assurance

The following key sources of primary and secondary data are used to properly evaluate the youth employment measures and schemes implemented in Lithuania: information, provided by administrators of the measures, project managers; related legislative acts and documents; statistical data from EU Structural Fund computerized information management and monitoring system (SFMIS) database, Eurostat and Statistics Lithuania; previously conducted evaluations; surveys; sources and research papers of international institutions, addressing youth employment initiative; statistical data from State Social Insurance Fund Board of the Republic of Lithuania and National Health Insurance Fund under the Ministry of Health. The above mentioned mechanisms of quality ensurance of measures implemented in Lithuania help to evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of these measures, with a view to improve the implementation of similar measures in the forthcoming periods and better tailor these measures to meet the needs of youth.